Both my kids now own Kindles so they can read digital books, or ebooks. But I’m not ready to break the bank buying them books. Which is why we use Overdrive to download their children’s ebooks for FREE!
All you need is a library card. And some patience. (Because this process is a few more steps than buying a book with one click on Amazon.)
Also, if you don’t own a Kindle, you can easily install the free Kindle app onto your phone or tablet. Click here to get the free Kindle app.
Free eBooks for Kids
This process looks tricky but once you show your kids, they’ll have it down easily. They are digital natives after all. (In fact, they might be able to figure it out on their own without any help!)
1. Find Overdrive online. Even easier, download the Libby app which is the Overdrive app version.
I think it’s easiest to go directly to your local library’s website. Go to the digital or downloads section and choose “Overdrive.”
You’ll get to a screen that looks similar to this:
2. Browse for eBooks.
This is a little harder than I’d like but I’ll walk you through the tricks to find a good book.
1) If you’re searching a specific title, enter that title in the search box. (This is the only easy option.)
2) If you just want to browse children’s books, start with the filter option.
Click on “Children’s Fiction.” (See above.)
Next, select filters that are located on the sidebar such as “Available Now,” “Format,” and “Interest Level” or “Reading Levels.” (See below.)
3) If you’re still not finding a good book, the even more complicated that approach I use is to go to Amazon. I put in a title of any book my child likes. Then I scroll down to see what other books people who bought that book are buying, paying close attention to the ratings. Once you find books you might like to also read, go back to Overdrive and enter those titles in the search box.
3. Sample an eBook
Just like on Amazon, you can preview Overdrive ebooks to see if you really do want to read them. Click on “Sample.” Here’s a sample of the book we’re currently reading at bedtime, How to Steal a Dog.
4. Borrow an eBook.
1) To borrow the book, select “borrow” and enter your library card number.
2) Keep following the prompts to get the book on your device . . . this means you’ll need to select “download” and will be taken to Amazon if you own a Kindle. Then you have to be sure you’re in the right Amazon account and click “Get library book.”
3) Also, you can easily put books on hold. Just select “Hold” if borrowing isn’t an option and enter your email so you can be alerted when the book is available.
The first screen looks like this:
The next screen looks like this:
5. Read your book!
6. Returning ebooks.
The book will automatically be returned to the library when your 3 weeks are up. If you need to return the book earlier (because you’re like me and max out your limit) go to “Manage your devices” under “Your Account.” Find the title and select “Return this book.”
I know this is a lot of steps but it sure saves money!
Do you think you’ll give it a go? Or do you already use Overdrive?
MY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: (with reviews)
Books for 8-year olds
Books for 9-year olds
Books for 10-year olds
Books for 11-year olds
Books for 12-year olds
Download my free "Can't Put 'Em Down Books for Kids" e-book for ages 2 - 18.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!